Saint Peter's Josh and Julie Niland have opened Australia's first fish butchery.
Saint Peter, Paddington's much-adored seafood restaurant, has expanded. But instead of opening a second eatery, owners Josh and Julie Niland have founded Fish Butchery, a swish retail space devoted to premium-quality Australian fish.
Forget all about your stock-standard seafood shops — with their mountains of ice, predictable species and tiny selection of cuts, Fish Butchery is a beautifully-designed adventure, without an ice cube in sight. And, rather than merely choosing from the fillets on display, you can ask the butcher to prepare the exact cut you need, just as you would at a traditional meat butchery.
"Fish retail hasn't been reimagined for decades," says Josh, who's also head chef at Saint Peter. "It has long existed as a wet bar — an ice counter — with fish piled on top. But water tends to shorten a fish's shelf life, change its taste and promote odours."
Consequently, at both Saint Peter and Fish Butchery, all seafood is dry-handled from whoa to go. Every fish is dry-scaled, filleted, pin-boned and presented in a fan-free cool room, kept at 0-2 degrees celsius.
There's also a waste-free policy and a focus on under-represented species, which, Josh says, "is part of our ongoing dream to encourage people to eat a wider variety of fish. We want to make those lesser-known varieties not just a restaurant experience but commonplace at home. They taste great, so our aim is customer enjoyment but also to support sustainable fishing."
Keep a look out for species you mightn't have tried cooking before, such as leatherjacket, tommy ruff and mahi mahi. The Nilands source these and others from a variety of suppliers, including the Sydney Fish Market, Nicholas Seafoods and independent fisherpeople, such as Bruce Collis, Neil Perry's go-to.
And, should you not feel like cooking, you can grab takeaway fish and chips. It'll be one of Fish Butchery's only cooked offering (including some weekend specials, like a pink ling pie).
"It was a logical step for the restaurant to add a butchery to its armory," says Josh. "It'll make the restaurant more efficient by centralising all cutting to one area, while enabling us to offer a product unrivalled in Sydney."
First two images: Cody Duncan.